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U.S.: Legalized Marijuana Would Be Eliminated Under A Christie Presidency

ChrisChristieIntoHimself[Startraksphoto.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Sunday promised to eliminate legalized marijuana in states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska if he's elected president.

The rotund Republican, speaking on CBS' "Face The Nation," said his administration would use federal law outlawing marijuana to crack down on states that have legalized recreational cannabis use, reports Matt Arco of NJ Advance Media.

"Yes sir," Christie replied to host John Dickerson when asked if he'd go after Colorado and Washington for legalized marijuana.

"If you were President would you return the federal prosecutions in the states of Colorado, Washington state?" Dickerson asked. "Yes," Christie answered.

"So, if somebody's enjoying that now in their state, if you're President, that's getting turned off?" Dickerson pressed. "Correct," Christie responded.

The Obama Administration hasn't punished states which have legalized marijuana, nor has it forced them to roll back the initiatives that voters approved.

Christie, on the other hand, has been a vocal critic of cannabis legalization; ignoring science, he claims it's a "gateway drug."

Photo of Gov. Chris Christie: Startraksphoto.com/New York Post

New Jersey: Governor Refuses To Help Suffering Children With Medical Marijuana

ChrisChristieSmirks[AP-MattRourke]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's cold-hearted refusal to allow sick children in his state safe access to medical marijuana was the subject of a blistering editorial inMonday's Star-Ledger.

"The issue of edible marijuana in New Jersey comes down to an irrefutable premise: The governor of this state has had numerous chances to liberate children from suffering over the last 18 months, yet he has chosen not to do it," wrote the Star-Ledger Editorial Board.

"Chris Christie seems content to live with this disgrace," the board wrote. "At one time, he summoned the audacity by looking into the faces of inconsolable parents and chirping the dim-bulb refrain, 'It's complicated,' and now he merely dismisses a law that he signed himself and hopes that nobody notices."

The op-ed unsparingly points out that two years after Vivian Wilson's parents were forced to move to Colorado for the sake of their toddler's health, there is still no workable edible marijuana program for New Jersey's needlessly suffering children -- "because Christie's administration doesn't prioritize compassion."

Pennsylvania: Philly Becoming America's Largest City To Decriminalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Mayor Michael Nutter and City Councilman James Kenney have reached a compromise on a bill which will make Philadelphia the largest city in America to decriminalize marijuana.

People caught with fewer than 30 grams of marijuana, just over an ounce, would only be issued a citation and fined $25 under the plan, reports Chris Hepp at Philly.com. They would face no criminal charge or arrest.

The compromise calls for a separate offense and penalty for public use of cannabis. Those caught using marijuana in public would be charged with a noncriminal summary offense, and would face a $100 fine or up to nine hours of community service, according to Kenney.

The compromise ends a conflict between Councilman Kenney and Mayor Nutter which began following the Philadelphia City Council's 13-to-3 vote in June to pass Kenney's marijuana decrim bill.

Kenney argued that cannabis arrests are disproportionately affecting African Americans. Philly police arrested 4,336 people for marijuana possession last year, 83 percent of them black.

But Mayor Nutter called the legislation "simplistic" and declined to immediately sign it. This week, with the deadline for his signature approaching, Kenney and and mayor began meeting to work out a compromise.

U.S.: Senators To Introduce Groundbreaking Criminal Justice Reform Bill

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REDEEM Act Helps Formerly Incarcerated Seal Conviction Records, Eliminates Barriers to Employment, Public Assistance, and Re-Entry

Drug Policy Alliance: Criminal Justice Reform is Good Policy and Good Politics

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday will introduce the REDEEM Act, groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that makes it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to reintegrate into society and provides greater rights to juvenile offenders.

The amendment comes on the heels of an amendment offered several weeks ago by Senators Booker and Paul that would prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from arresting and prosecuting people in compliance with their state medical marijuana laws. Senator Paul also has a bill with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that would provide federal judges more discretion in sentencing.

A bipartisan bill reforming mandatory minimums introduced by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting floor action.

“The fact that two young and rising stars of both parties, both rumored to be considering future White House runs, are so passionately embracing criminal justice reform shows how politically popular these issues have become,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Voters want reform and smart elected officials know that. This legislation is good policy and good politics.”

New Jersey: Gov. Christie Says Medical Marijuana 'A Front For Legalization'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If there was any doubt in anyone's mind about just how ignorant New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is when it comes to medicinal cannabis, the big guy has put those doubts to rest. Following reports that patient enrollment in the state's medical marijuana program is low (due largely to his own foot-dragging and ineffective implementation), Christie called the New Jersey program and others like it across the nation "a front for legalization."

The New Jersey Legislature passed the state's medical marijuana law back in 2009, and former Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, signed it just before he left office. The Christie Administration, since then, has been notably slow in implementing the program; the first dispensary didn't open until December 2012, reports Brent Johnson at The Star-Ledger.

Only 2,342 patients have signed up for New Jersey's medical marijuana program, after initial predictions had estimated tens of thousands of patients might be helped. Last week, the president and CEO of Compassionate Care Foundation, Inc., in Egg Harbor -- one of only three operational dispensaries in the state -- announced he is quitting because, he said, he couldn't keep working for no pay.

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